Sunday, February 21, 2010

Second Thoughts About Canonical Pseudepigraphy

In his Dictionary of Later New Testament and Its Developments article on pseudepigraphy (which means “false superscription”), James Dunn discussed the problem of New Testament writings that explicitly claim to have been written by a certain person but were believed by many modern scholars to have been written by someone else.

Unlike anonymous New Testament writings such as the book of Hebrews, the issue of false attribution in pseudepigraphal writings raised questions about their integrity and acceptability in the canon. For example, we read of Serapion (second century A.D.) who rejected the Gospel of Peter as “the writings that falsely bear their names [Peter and the other apostles] . . . knowing that such were not handed down to us” (Eusebius Hist. Eccl. 6.12.3).

Dunn described the nature of the moral and theological problem in this way, “It is this judgment of falseness, of an intent to deceive and mislead, particularly by passing off as apostolic what should not be so regarded, that makes the issue of pseudepigraphy in the NT so sensitive.” On the other hand, Dunn recognized the significant consensus of NT scholarship that maintains the pseudepigraphic character of NT writings such as Ephesians, the Pastoral epistles and 2 Peter. How then should we reconcile this apparent contradiction?

Download the rest of the article review below:
Review the Pseudepigraphy Article

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

to be frank, I find your article very impressive.

I noticed Hedonese wrote the article and a quick google found your name. Your nick somehow struck a chord at the back of my head though I cant quite put a finger to where I first saw your nick.